Detecting Realms of Summoned creatures without using Magic

Can a summoner discern the Realm of a summoned entity without using Divine aligned magic?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know
  • Hasn't come up in my Saga
  • Pardon?
  • What is it with Jarkman and summoners anyway?

0 voters

This has come up in the Light of Andorra Saga PbP Saga here and we're at somewhat of an impasse on moving forward in a practical way.

My understanding of the RAW as per the Limit of the Infernal is that Intellego spells cannot detect demons (although perhaps other Infernal aligned creatures can be detected by hermetic magic but I can't recall if this is canon anywhere).

This AFAIK means that it is only possible to detect the Infernal with Divine aligned magic such as Sense Holiness and Unholiness, Holy Methods & Powers and perhaps Holy Magic. (not sure if Infernal powers can detct Infernal, hmmm demons lying to demons?)

Now if you "scour" the area, particularly a Divine aura ironically, (RoP:tI p114-115, ie try the Goetic Art of Summoning without having an Arcane Connection ie. "ping the upper air to see what's about") or botch a Summoning roll you can summon a demon in place of a local faerie/magic spirit or the the spirit you intended/have an AC too.

There's a bit of a suggestion that sahir using their Sihr power (HoH:Societas, p 135) can discern the Might of an entity using the appropriate Realm Lore but the text states:

Magnitude of Might is detected, not Realm - in fact it specifically states:

.

To me this means:

  1. there is way in the RAW to discern the Realm alignment of an entity short of Divine aligned powers (as above)

  2. a sahir (but presumably another summoner or magus) can guess how powerful an entity is (and even if you pick the wrong Realm Lore you can sometimes fluke this and get it right) but guessing correctly does not mean the Realm you chose is correct

I'd wonder whether a Intelligence + Guile roll (perhaps modified by the HEirarchy score?) might help determine whether a summoner could determine if the entity was a demon masquerading as a Faerie/Magcial/Divine creature.

It seems to be a bit "gamist" to rule via the mecahnics when I'd have thought that a decent summoner should have some way of suspecting that all is not as it seems short of using Sense Holiness and Unholiness...

I'd appreciate comments on how to resolve this - I don't have RoP: Magic yet and I can't seem to find a solution through looking throught the relevant sections of the corebook, TMRE, RoP:tI and HoH: Societas.

Thanks in advance,

Lachie

Well, Hermetic Magic can detect auras and mights and treats them differently, so I'd say that you can detect the realm unless it is a demon actively masquerading as a being of another realm in which case the false realm is detected. The limitation of Hermetic magic is that it cannot penetrate the lies of demons, that that it cannot detect them.

Err, actually you can't if my interpretation of the RAW per the InVi guidelines on p158 of the corebook is correct (and please correct me if I'm wrong here...)

Lower down it also mentions that you can detect Magical creatures (or Faerie or Divine, but not demons so ?ambiguos can detect other Infernal creatures) but that this requires different spells.

Nowhere in the InVi section does it state you can detect a creature's Realm - if you're confident you have good Penetration you can scissors/paper/rock your way by excluding Faerie and Magic and lucking out if you detect Divine (Infernal can't masquerade as Divine can it...) I suppose but you still can't detect demons so how do you know?

Do you get an "engaged signal" or a "your query does not match an option" repsonse (I've been spending a lot of time interacting with call services lately and it's beginning to take its toll...)

None of the example spells actually tell you the Realm of anything - they might detect residues, detect an item is magical, detect the magnitude of its effect / Might of a creature but they don;t seem to be able to tell you the Realm of anything.

Perhaps this is a corollary effect of the lesser Hermetic Limit of the Infernal - Hermetic magic cannot discern the Realm alignment of a magical effect?

Thanks,

Lachie

Whilst it's not explicitly stated that you can detect realm, you can detect manifestations of a realm. The detection spells mentioned are, for want of a better analogy, radar which cause things of the relevent realm to ping, revealing their presence. Hermetic magic can thus explicitly interact with things based on their realm. Analogous to the detecting the art of Vis, detecting realm should be doable. You're not asking the question, "are there any creatures of any realm here", though I suppose that should be doable at vastly increased level for complexity (Vim with a Vim requisite, anyone?) but the more specific question of what realm a target is.

I do have to say that I interpret the "for this reason there are no demon detecting magics" part as "because all demons may deceive the spell undetectably, there are no demon detecting magics used by the Order as they are worthless."

Salvete Sodales!

If everything else botches, there is a pretty flambeauish solution to the problem: Cast a DEO at the creature in question! - If it is affected, it was a demon. Otherwise, well you might have to explain to some annoyed faerielord what you have been doing before he runs you through with his shiny sword, and of course this won't work if your spell or the penetration is too weak, but that is a drawback to any spell.

Apart from that, I voted for "Yes", but this will only work reliably with non-infernal creatures. So if you scan a magical dragon with InVi you should be able to learn that he is a magical beiing. Unfortunately a demon posing as magical dragon would lead to the same result.

Vale,
Alexios ex Miscellanea

I would agree with the metaphors above that liken the InVi detection spells as being radar-esque with respect to realm. I'd assume, since the spell-building guidelines give the ability to instill multiple effects in a single spell, that with 2-4 extra magnitudes, a magi could develop the "Sight of All Non-Demonic Entities" spell.

I'd love for one of the (many) authors to chime in on whether these topics (and related ones, like the oft-argued question of whether one can detect the Gift) are intentionally left vague, or have just not been covered because they didn't come up in the design process.

I would say yes, one can detect the Realm of an entity, most of the time. The caveat is that some demons possess the power to disguise their deceptions, and Hermetic magic cannot defeat that.

IMO, the Limit of the Infernal is widely misunderstood. I don't take it to mean demons have blanket immunity from Intellego spells. I take it to mean that if a demon has some kind of deceptive power, such as a MuIm or ReMe effect that specifically disguises or conceals the demon, then that power can't be detected or thwarted by magic.

So, most of the time, but you can never be completely sure...

Yeah, that's my understanding too. Demons have deception powers that cannot be discerned by Hermetic magic. If a demon happens to not be using a deception power then he can be detected fine.

Precisely what proportion of demons actually have these deception powers, and how often those that have them routinely use them are other questions entirely. I think it is something to be decided on a saga by saga basis. In some sagas it might mean that demons can almost never be detected, in other sagas it might mean that only a few demons are especially tricky to deal with.

I said yes, clearly, because infernally-aligned magic and powers can detect demons too. :stuck_out_tongue:

Many demons have powers that keep them hidden and secret. I generally play that Intellego magic isn't considered reliable when demons are involved, not that it doesn't work. If a slavering demon beast has ravaged the village, for example, I believe you can certainly follow its tracks with InAn or see what it looks like with InIm. Such a demon probably doesn't have much in the way of deception powers, you see.

Sahir have experience with such matters, and they know that InVi spells to detect Realm can be unreliable when dealing with spiritual entities; which is why they tend to rely on experience rather than magic. The wording of the Sahir section you quote is explicit, but you should interpret it as clarifying that this Int + Lore roll reveals Might but not Realm. They could use Hermetic magic to discover the Realm, but if the entity that they are dealing with is an Infernal jinni who has some sort of deceptive powers to cloud his Realm, then any reading he gets might be suspect.

Evil jinni seem to be reasonably common in the mythology, and as they are specifically trying to tempt summoners, a power to give false readings on their Might source is probably relatively common as well -- or at least, is assumed to be common :smiling_imp:

Furthermore, I see no issue with such a power giving a false reading as a Divine creature. Satan himself was known to veil himself in a cloak of light. Angels or Divine Powers could reveal the falsehood, but not Hermetic magic.

Lastly, regarding the Limit of the Infernal, the RAW is less clear:

This gives a lot more latitude than others have suggested so far in this thread. I still think that the demon has to actively deceive. If it is using a power to hide something about itself, then InVi won't work. Equally, if it is using Guile to tell a lie, then InMe won't work; and a demon being stealthy cannot be revealed by Tracks of the Faerie Glow. These don't need any specific powers to conceal the truth. However, a valid interpretation of te RAW is that all Intellego spells give false readings, and so maybe a specific power to cloud the Might source of a demon is not needed after all.

Mark

This is how I interpreted it - Might but not Realm can be discerned.

I am less clear about whether Hermetic Magic can detect an entity's Realm (ignoring the potential for a demon to deceive/not be discerned by Hermetic magic). There seem to be no Guideline for this I can find in the RAW, and no-one has yet pointed out a correction in the canon texts. Perhaps another Poll?:

https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/detecting-realm-alignment/3070/1

This seems to make more sense to me - the ability to deceive sems part of a demon's Essential Nature, as it were, and the inability of Hermetic magic to perceive the lies/deceptions of demons seems to stem from the Limit of the Divine, rather than just a flaw in hermetic theory like some of the other limtis (as noted in the corebook).

I think this might be a grey area, but I see your pint (sic) Erik (edit: I think I mean "point here" but would not be adverse to shouting you a pint in any case in appreciation for your fine work champ). In this case, is it the damage/impression caused by the demon and the species given off by the demon rather than the demon's nature itself that are being targeted perhaps?

Thanks,

Lachie

I interpret the above as "Realm can easily be determined, but can't be trusted because a Demon can choose to appear as some other realm than Infernal." Much as if I appear at your house wearing a policeman's outfit, you can easily determine that I appear to be a policeman but would need access to official records to determine if that was actually the case. It's a question of how much you trust your magic.

I'd agree. Rather than having all Intellego spells give false readings, I'd just have them give the reading the demon most desires, within reason. InAn should let you track footrprints unless the demon desired not to leave any; a false trail would require a specific power. I'd say that Intellego effects directly targetting the demon give the potentially false readings (and it's the fact that they're only potentially false which is the problem, or it reduces to the two blokes, one who only lies and one who only tells the truth, riddle) but that readings on the effects of a demon's actions give the true reading unless deliberately occluded by the demon with some specific power.

With respect to detecting Realm, we do this the same as for auras, based on the following:

Spicy Scent of the Magical Creature
InVi 20
R: Per, D: Conc, T: Smell
Any being with a Magic Might takes on a distinctly spicy spell to the perceptions of the caster. Variants of this spell allow the detection of Faerie and Divine beings; whilst a version for the Infernal Realm is also possible, it can only detect Corrupted Beasts and other non-Demonic Infernal Might with any certainty. Demons can determine whether they are detected or not.
(base 5, +1 Conc, +2 Smell)

[EDIT: should have added to this spell description that it needs to penetrate to work. There's no reason why it should be an exception, but it doesn't hurt to be clear.]

There also are explicit guidelines (for magic spirits) on page 111 of RoP:Magic. Thankfully, they do match exactly. :wink:

(And since I've found the search function to be capricious, I'll link to the other topical thread of the moment.)

These are for Intellego magics based on Forms other than Vim and detect Form not Realm alignment, which although a partial solution in some cases ie. Infernal aligned Jinn associated with Ignem could presumably be targeted with specific "DEO-style" PeIg spells I suppose, isn't quite what I'm getting at.

Thanks.

I seem to have needlessly overcomplicated the discussion by making two threads. :frowning:

Lachie